Phoenix shut up shop on Morgan comments
Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert blew the whistle on answering questions about club co-owner Gareth Morgan's broadside at fans, while captain Andrew Durante chose his words carefully in appealing for continued support.
In an interview recorded a week ago but only aired on Thursday, Morgan labelled fans of his A-League club unsophisticated, pathetic and unable to absorb short-term pain for long-term gain.
The Wellington-based club sit at the bottom of the A-League ladder with four wins from 17 matches as they struggle to embed a new, possession-based attacking style of football.
Morgan says Phoenix supporters are in favour of a style change but aren't willing to accept it will take time.
He accused fans of not keeping the club's interests at heart.
"Fans are a cross-section of the public. A lot of them don't know much about the game, and they certainly in my view think only of themselves, and not of the future of the club.
"Some people, all they do is read the league tables, and that's all there is to the game for them. They're pathetic really."
Herbert wouldn't be drawn on Morgan's comments, or whether they were a distraction as the team prepare for Sunday's match against Newcastle Jets in Wellington.
"To be honest, I don't read the media and I don't listen to it. We're focused on the football," he said after training on Friday.
"I'm not sure what he said, it's not for me to comment."
Durante was equally circumspect, also maintaining he hadn't read Morgan's comments.
"To be honest, I've been through so much of Gareth talk over the last month that I honestly have completely blocked it out," he said.
"I've been in a pretty tough place with all these comments and having to answer for owners, so I'd rather not say much about that.
"Obviously, the fans are hurting from it. It's never nice to have those comments at you. But as players we've decided we're not going to get involved in that, we're not going to talk about it. The less said, the better for the playing group."
Durante appealed to Phoenix fans to support the team when they most needed it.